Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It really is a thin line

between love and hate. A man in New York state has filed suit against his estranged wife, seeking $1.5 million in compensation for the kidney he gave her in happier times. I'm not making this up. The kidney transplant was in 2001; she filed for divorce in 2005. It appears the divorce is not final. I'd say it just got a whole lot more acrimonious. The couple does have three children.

My first reaction to this headline was, "What a douchebag!" Who thinks he can get money for an organ donation? And who begrudges that organ, once donated? Especially to the mother of his children? For his kids' sake, isn't he glad their mother is alive and well?

But then I thought there's probably just a lot of hurt going on there. Who knows what led these two people to this point. Maybe he was always a controlling, vindictive SOB. Maybe she cheated or just lost interest in him once she got healthy. At any rate, it's always interesting to me to think that a couple like this once loved each other enough to commit to each other for life and to have three children together. And now they're tearing each other apart in court. (Digression: but gay marriage is the real threat to traditional marriage?)

Then the lawyer in me thought there's no way this is a viable legal claim. Surely no court wants to set a legal precedent for putting a monetary value on a human organ. My recollection from law school (several years ago) is that no state allows any financial compensation for an organ donation. Medical expenses can be paid, of course, but nothing else. I'd really like to see this pleading so I can try to understand what the good doctor's lawyer's theory is. It's got to involve some kind of fraud, right?


Anonymous said...

It's time for an encouragement-based incentive system - utilizing capitalism to end severe shortage of donated organs. That's the SOLUTION. We have that SOLUTION and it works!

BellsforStacy said...

I'm scared of that website above by the way ... are they selling organs? Or buying them? Who are they?

I saw this and thought it was funny. I've always thought on gay marriage that lawyers (the kind that deal in divorces) stood the most to gain and that they should really get behind opening up their consumer base.

People do crazy insane things when going through a divorce. I find especially men, when children are involved. If she really is keeping the kids from him and the courts aren't helping him, maybe he did this to get some attention and maybe embarrass her or shame her or something her into letting him see his kids. The mans a surgeon so surely he isn't hurting for money (though you never know).

S said...

Yeah, that's an interesting website, isn't it? I decided to leave the comment so others could check it out. It's an oddly non-specific website, which I always find suspicious.

I heard today that the husband is saying she cheated, so that starts to explain how there's so much acrimony now. He can't really expect to win anything on this claim, so I agree he probably is motivated by something else.

And this case is a perfect example of why I have no interest in family law!

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